Pot calls kettle black in ongoing feud between print and Web journalists

Pot calls kettle black in ongoing feud between print and Web journalists

The July-August issue of The Atlantic includes a piece by lead features scribbler Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down) on the recent goings-on at the Wall Street Journal. In it, Bowden writes a predictable lament regarding the demise of long-form, responsible journalism in newspapers. The cause? The Web, of course, and Web-enabling buccaneer capitalists like Rupert Murdoch. All of which is fine, after a fusty Luddite fashion. But when Bowden gets up on his hind legs and announces that the Web “has yet to develop institutions capable of replacing print newspapers as vehicles for great in-depth journalism, or conscious of themselves as upholding a public trust,” I tend to get a little pissy. My debunking, after the jump.

Here is Bowden’s central point:

The Web gives voice to opinionated, unedited millions. In the digital world, ignorance and crudity share the platform with rigor and taste; the independent journalist shares the platform with spinmeisters and con artists… When all news is spun, we live in a world of propaganda.

Um, this as opposed to former New York Times bigfoot Judith Miller selling out her “public trust” for a couple of dinner dates with Scooter Libby? Or the National Post sandbagging op-ed writers so the Aspers don’t catch too much flak at synagogue? Or The Globe and Mail rolling over for big oil? Etc.? Etc.?

The idea that print ever ascended to some Edenic realm of integrity and talent—and moreover that the Web is the apple on the tree tempting us to fall into a pitful of horrible people like your humble blogger—forces me to answer in kind:


Mr. Murdoch Goes to War [The Atlantic]